U’s pipped by the Cherries
Colchester United 0 Bournemouth 1
COLCHESTER United suffered a setback in their quest to pull clear of the relegation zone, following a defeat to impressive Bournemouth this afternoon.
The Cherries boosted their promotion chances with a fourth win on the bounce, thanks to a smart finish by Brett Pitman in the 19th minute.
Pitman fired into the roof of the net from close in, capitalising fully on winger Matt Ritchie’s inch-perfect cross.
The U’s were never at their best, and can have few complaints about the result, despite an improved second-half display.
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Joe Dunne’s men simply never tested Cherries keeper Ryan Allsop – he had a comfortable afternoon.
The U’s at least started the brighter of the teams, inspired by some strong front-running by Jabo Ibehre in the early stages – the 30-year-old was back in the starting line-up after serving a three-match suspension.
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Ibehre scuffed a shot straight at keeper Allsop on .. minutes, and then set up a chance for Jack Compton, whose shot was charged down by a defender. This was Compton’s first start for the U’s, since his move from Portsmouth at the turn of the year.
But the Cherries began to wrestle control before the mid-point of the first half, and it was no real surprise when they took the lead.
Just two minutes after Sam Walker had beaten away a goal-bound drive by Lewis Grabban, the U’s keeper was given little chance as Pitman slammed home Matt Ritchie’s cross for the opening goal on 19 minutes.
The visitors bossed the game for the rest of the half, and were a shade unlucky not to be further ahead.
Marc Pugh struck the far post with a deflected header in the 36th minute, and Magnus Okuonghae did well to block Pitman’s goal-bound header four minutes later.
Grabban also squandered a great one-on-one chance with Walker in first-half stoppage time.
The U’s improved in the second period, but without seriously testing Allsop in the Cherries’ goal.
By contrast, Walker continued to be busy, making two excellent saves from man-of-the-match Arter to keep the result in doubt until the final whistle.
COLCHESTER: Walker, Wilson, Okuonghae, Thompson, Garmston (sub White, 64), Clifford, Bond, Massey, Morrison (sub Smith, 73), Compton (sub Drey Wright, 72), Ibehre. Unused subs: David Wright, Hewitt, Bean, Cousins.
BOURNEMOUTH: Allsop, Francis, Cook, Elphick, Pugh (sub Hughes, 90+2), Arter, O’Kane (sub MacDonald, 28), Daniels, Ritchie, Grabban (sub Tubbs, 87), Pitman. Unused subs: McQuoid, Seaborne, Fogden, Jalal.
Referee: Oliver Langford (West Midlands)